• Fri, Aug 20 2010

Gray Hair Is Awesome

According to the Sun Sentinel Anderson Cooper was just offered $1 million to take a pill which would turn his grey hair brown for the next 5 years. Apparently, he’s not into the idea.

I’m not sure that turning down $1 million is the best fiscal decision, but I’m glad to see that Anderson is cool with his gray hair these days. He wrote a terrifically funny article for Details in 2003 where he remarked:

Going gray is like ejaculation. You know it can happen prematurely, but when it actually does, it’s a total shock. I had brown hair until I was 20. Then the gray began to sprout. Today, 15 years later, it’s spread like some mutant melanin virus and now completely envelops my head. I still refuse to admit I’m gray. Salt-and-pepper is about all I’ll cop to. Of course, I’m just about out of pepper. We all cling to delusions. This is mine. Leave it alone.

Did you know that according to legend, the guy who became Buddha decided to seek enlightenment the day he got a touch of gray? “Gray hairs,” the would-be Buddha said, “are like angels sent by the god of death.”

Translation: Gray is nature’s way of whispering “You’re dying.”

Okay, let’s take 20 seconds to consider whether you’d still think super Christian sexual reorientation camps were a bad idea if they mant you could maybe hook up with Anderson Cooper. Yes? No? Maybe? Your opinion on that is your own (to the gay men reading this – you lucky bastards).

That aside, I think, I think gray tends to say more about wisdom than it does about death. Especially when it’s juxtaposed with a youthful face, then it just looks really cool. It doesn’t say “old person” it says, “I’m an immortal vampire. As you can see by my young face, I am beautiful. Only my grey hair reflects the 700 years I have lived.” Possibly it only says that if you just finished watching Interview With The Vampire. I’m not entirely sure.

But it does always make me look twice when I see a young person with grey hair, and I do like it. I like that they’re not afraid of aging. I like that some of them are rushing headlong into aging (Tavi, I’m thinking of you.)

I also think we’re all socially conditioned to take people with grey hair seriously. There was a girl in college whose hair had gone grey at 20, and I remembered always suspecting that she was very wise, despite the fact that she didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary.

In any case, gray hair isn’t a sign that you’re about to die – it’s a sign that you’ve lived, and have years of experiences at your disposal. And that’s a good thing. I hope Anderson Cooper does keep rocking that silver fox look. I only wish I could think of an equally famous female who didn’t start dying her hair that ridiculous pastel blond shade as soon as it started to go white.

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  • Lindsay Hartman

    Hey! My hair is naturally pastel blond share. And it only looks ridiculous if it doesn’t match your complexion or eyebrows or the rest of the hair on your body. For those of us really pale people, pastel blond is about the only thing that works!

    • Jennifer Wright

      But yours is natural! It’s not that weird shade that older women seem to jump to once their hair has gone white as though white is somehow shameful. You know, honestly, if I thought I could manage the upkeep, I’d like to have Lady-Gaga-on-the-cover-of-Vanity-Fair hair right now.

  • Lindsay Hartman

    shade* You get it…

  • Lindsay Hartman

    Alright, there is a definitely a difference between white hair dyed blond and natural blond. And I will give you that the former is ridiculous. The bad thing about this natural blond is that it never goes silver! It goes straight to white. And there’s an odd, white/yellow stage in the middle that I’m not sure how I’ll cope with.

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